Since so many of my friends were baking up this holiday treat, I decided to try my hand at it. Originally a German tradition, this is a lighter version that will please any palate.
Flaky and almost biscuity in texture, this isn't like any fruitcake that might have haunted your childhood, but more like a Christmassy scone, large enough to share with friends and delicious enough that they will want to share it with you!
adapted from King Arthur Flour, this recipe
2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter
1 cup ricotta cheese (I used yogurt cheese)
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
zest of one lemon or small orange
1/2 cup Fruitcake Blend or diced candied lemon or mixed citrus peel
1/2 cup raisins (dark or golden)
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted and cooled
melted butter and confectioners' sugar
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the cold butter into small chunks, then blend it into the flour mixture to form uneven crumbs.
In a separate bowl, mix together the cheese, egg and yolk, vanilla, and flavorings.
Toss the fruit or peel, raisins, and almonds with the flour mixture until evenly distributed. Then combine the contents of the two bowls, mixing until most of the flour is moistened.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead it two or three times, until it holds together. Divide it in half, and pat each half into a circle. Roll each piece of dough into an 8 x 7-inch oval about 1/2-inch thick. Place the ovals on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, and fold each one roughly in half, leaving the edge of the top half about 1/2-inch short of the edge of the bottom half. Press the dough to seal it, with the edge of your hand about 1 inch in back of the open edge; this will make the traditional stollen shape.
Bake the stollen in a preheated 325°F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until they're very lightly browned around the edges. A cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean. Transfer the stollen to a wire rack, and brush them each with 2 to 3 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle heavily with confectioners' sugar. Allow the stollen to cool, then sprinkle them with sugar again, and wrap in plastic wrap till ready to serve.
Yield: two 1-pound loaves.